Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 2, Episode 17 of ABC Family's "Pretty Little Liars," entitled "The Blond Leading the Blind."
Plug in your flash drives! It's time to get technological on ABC Family's "Pretty Little Liars."
We open with the girls checking out (again) whatever Caleb was able to recover from A's phone outside the greenhouse (again). A beret-topped Hanna -- looking like a prettier version of beatnik Judy from "Doug" -- hands it over hesitantly, expressing her concern over Caleb's involvement in this whole blackmailing-by-anonymous-people-who-may-or-may-not-have-killed-our-best-friend situation. Understandable. Plus, she doesn't want to continue to lie to him.
Aria is convinced that it's Garrett, now that Lucas has been ruled out (insert growl).
When the recovered video turns on, we hear "I know you want to kiss me" for the 13498234th time and Aria, like most viewers, is disappointed. Then, Alison's bedroom pops up on the screen and Ian is adjusting and seemingly attempting to hide the lens in this never-before-seen portion of the video. Soon after, Garrett and Jenna the bedroom enter for a "N.A.T. Club field trip," as Spencer puts it.
The only one missing in Ali's room? Jason, who is passed out because "a six pack and some weed will do that to you."
Jenna asks why the emergency call and Ian says he tried to get Alison to hand over "our videos" but she wasn't going for it. Jenna, the Samantha Jones of Rosewood, makes a suggestive joke about what Ali also wasn't "going for." Charlotte would be horrified ... as are our liars watching in Spencer's (of course) parent-less home.
Garrett isn't laughing at Jenna's joke. "This is your fault, Ian," he says. "I knew you'd go too far and those videos would come back to bite us. That's why I bailed on this messed up club."
"Well, welcome back," Ian says smugly, prompting "Kotter" tunes in my head.
They hunt for the videos in Ali's room and Garrett finds the box that Jason gave Aria of Ali's things in the August episode, "Touched by an 'A-ngel" and then the clip cuts off. The girls conclude that the N.A.T. Club -- which now officially includes Jenna -- was in Rosewood (GASP) in Ali's bedroom (GASP) on the night that she died (GASP)!
But that tension is broken up by the theme song and we start anew the next day.
Spencer gets a text from A with a picture of her and Toby making out in his car with the words "I warned you!" Spencer really should have found a better make out place because Toby's vintage gold pickup truck isn't exactly a commonplace Jetta.
Toby calls Spencer and Emily -- who is all over the Hastings house in this episode -- answers to lie on her behalf. Unfortunately, Emily (who my mom thinks "has been spending too much time at the tanning salon") is not such a good liar. Toby can see Emily through the window and through Spencer's plan. "This real face time via the window is really funny--- who does that??? don't they have iphones in Rosewood??? hahhahahah" my mom wonders, while cackling apparently. "i mean Toby has an antique truck but we know they do have cell phones." She speaks the truth.
Spencer, Emily, Aria and Hanna reunite at Rosewood High's outdoor cafeteria -- where it is perpetually the same time of year in Pennsylvania. The foursome talks about their respective relationships and protecting their loved ones. Aria thinks Spencer lying in order to protect Toby is "romantic," but Hanna and Spencer say it's just "safe."
Then, odd-woman-out Aria has a pity party about Ezra not talking to her and Holden emerges. Emily calls him Aria's beard, but Aria doesn't think he's gay. "Has he ever tried to kiss you?" the girls ask. Aria: "No." Girls: "Gay."
She's on a mission to find out. After chatting him up about another farce of a date in Philly-- where she can hopefully lure Ezra -- she sees him check out a girl. Like everything else on "Pretty Little Liars," that mystery remains unsolved.
At a newly constructed outdoor cafe in Rosewood, Caleb is seemingly playing hooky to crack the flash drive code. He's able to make out some of the blurriness in the video and see that it's Garrett, who happens to be sitting right in front of him at this lovely new coffee shop. "how come Garrett never works anymore???" my mom asks. Perhaps it's because Ali's murder was "solved"? Nevertheless, business is really booming in Rosewood.
Before Caleb rushes off, Garrett calls after him. A now-scared Caleb turns around and Garrett lets him know he forgot his keys and then, he starts making broad statements about forgetfulness. "Man, I totally know what that's like," the ever-sympathetic Garrett says. "You get so wrapped up in something, you forget where you are. Two hours later it's like, 'Where did I park my car? Did I even drive here?'"
Caleb rushes off with a quick "thanks" and Garrett returns to his delicious-looking scone/cookie situation. Hopefully, he can figure out whether or not he drove there when he's finally done with it.
The girls meet up again in Aria's bedroom, home of the as-seen-on-TV box, and disagree over where to go from here. Hanna wants to close boxes instead of open them, but when she picks up a doll, its neck opens to reveal some notes. (Apparently, Ali was harassed pre-cell phone invention?) The notes range from "It's my turn to torture you" to "Scared yet? You should be, bitch!" to "Next time, it'll be your face, not this pumpkin."
Aria's memory is sparked back to Halloween. And so we flashback to the post-prank place that the Halloween episode left off. The girls are taking a back route with Ali, whose Elvira-inspired Lady Gaga wig continues to annoy me months after its initial appearance.
As Hanna and Spencer talk about how perfect Ian and Melissa are for each other and consider their eventual nuptials, Ali retorts that they're "perfectly bored." But her bitchiness is interrupted when she realizes her porch has been trashed. There's a knife in a pumpkin with a note and when the girls ask what it says, Ali merely replies, "Jason's beer buddies. Real funny." She wants to "make it up" to them, but then ...
We're back in present time, where the girls flip over the "pumpkin"-inscribed paper to see it was written on an invitation to Noel Kahn's Halloween party -- of course, he had flyers -- and it was signed by A. "A was after Allison, too," Spencer concludes, "before they were after us." (Is that Spencer hinting that she thinks A is more than one person, like the rest of us do, or is she just struggling with gender-less subject/verb agreement, like the rest of us do?)
Well, it's a new day at Rosewood High and Hanna decides to finally talk to Mona about her break up with Noel. Pissed over Hanna's not-so-good "being there" skills, Mona angrily walks over to Noel to return a necklace. He, in turn, throws it in the trash and she, in turn, throws herself into the bathroom so as not to let him see her cry. Hanna follows and tells her she deserves better. The girls make up and make a date for that night at Rive Gauche (thanks to my mom, I now know this means "the left bank") to toast to their reconciliation. After they leave and everything seems all rainbows and glitter in Rosewood, Jenna emerges from the stall having eavesdropped on Mona's pain.
In another not-so-private classroom, Aria calls Ezra and says they should meet in Philadelphia to talk about things face to face. "If you come," she says on his voicemail, "it means that there's still a chance for us and if not ... " The voicemail cuts her off because this is TV.
In addition to Caleb, another liar's boyfriend is being truant: We see Toby climb the scaffolding that A loosened at the end of the last episode. And of course, soon enough, his large-featured face is free falling. "does he get killed???" my mom worries (though personally, I'd be happy not to look at his face anymore). After assuring her he's alive and well enough, she explains her curiosity: "oh they didn't show him landing."
But Toby did indeed land and Spencer's mom shockingly found him. "Toby is really lucky Spencer's mom came home since she is rarely home," my mom notes. I tell her it's because she's busy moonlighting as a Mariska Hargitay impersonator. Anyway, Spencer is visiting Toby and telling him how awful she feels about having Emily lie for her yesterday when Dr. Ren enters. (That man shows up in the most suspicious of places, but I suppose I must give him some validity for hospital.) He confirms that Toby's arm is broken and says that he has to stay overnight since he had a concussion. He bids them adieu by saying "Spencer" inquisitively. "Is that a British thing to say someone's name instead of goodbye????" my mom asks. But there are more important things to worry about: Spencer gets a text from A that reads, "Almost got him! Toby won't be so lucky next time."
As we hear the imaginary "mwah ha ha's," Spencer calls Aria to fill the girls in on Toby's status. Aria, Emily and Hanna discuss whether or not Jenna is A. After all, could she really have hurt her own stepbrother (who, mind you, she had quite the incestuous relationship with)? And if Garrett and Jenna broke up, who helped her?
Enter Jenna in Toby's hospital room. "soooooooo was Jenna eye surgery unsuccessful???" my mom jokes, which is only okay because Jenna is not only blind, but also pretty awful. Jenna warns her stepbrother to stay away from Spencer. "She's haunted, Toby. I know a little bit about that," she explains, adding that she's " the only person who should be here" because they're family, whether he likes it or not. Perhaps she should have considered this when she hit on him.
Caleb is really pressing Hanna about what she's doing looking into Ali's allegedly resolved murder. He should instead be worried about why she's wearing very tight white parents during whatever non-summer season this is. As my mom explains: "there is only one season in Rosewood......like early spring or fall......bc they get to wear sweaters and hats." But no time for clothing assessments. Hanna tells Caleb: "Whatever you imagine isn't as bad as it really is." She also urges him to "stop working on these videos." He tells her "people in the video are watching" him, i.e. Officer Garrett. Hanna's had enough of the trouble the flash drive has caused and tosses it in the blender. Rendezvous and she's through with you, flash drive.
Back at the hospital, Jenna is on her way out of Toby's room when she runs into an unhappy Emily who is lucky Jenna doesn't "take that stick and ..." Jenna cuts her off and warns her about misplaced anger and says she should have left him alone.
As Emily sits at Toby's bedside, my mom wonders, "where are Toby's parents??? The kid is in the hospital and they don't come????" and Spencer, who could really use a Xanax, watches through the glass. She motions for Emily to come out into the hall and tells her she's concluded that Jenna's right about them putting Toby in danger. Now, she has a favor. "If you do what I'm about to ask you, you might end up hating me," Spencer warns Em. "But this is the only thing that I can think of to save Toby."
During the commercial break, my mom and I ponder what Spencer's favor could be:
My mom: "im guessing Spencer is going to ask Emily to kiss her so Toby will think she is gay now....."
My mom: "well Spencer needs to breakup with Toby so he is not in danger and if she does that...they can't be together. what do you think she is going to ask Emily do?"
Me: "lie to toby about her not wanting to be with him ... her being spencer"
My mom: "thats way more hurtful than my way ... let's see who's right"
Emily enters the hospital room again (IM from my mom: "i think you're gonna win") and tells Toby that Spencer was seeing someone else before they got together. Now, Emily explains, Spencer's ex is back and she made her choice to be with him. Toby doesn't believe it and asks who the mystery former-turned-present man in Spencer's life is, but Emily won't say.
Aria's mom drops off a choker-sporting Aria and Holden on their Philly date. My mom gets angry over Ella's mere presence: "i wish she would put [the choker] around her mother's neck very tightly......hehe" She's joking (I think). Once they're alone, Aria not-so-covertly asks Holden if he's gay (because the fact that he never tried to kiss her is apparently a dead giveaway) and he says no. "Okay. Well, then what are you?" she asks. "I'm late. See you at 11." My mom's conclusion? "He's just a tool."
Despite his approaching date time with Aria, Ezra is in his office, talking with a student with quite the set of eyelashes about his paper. True love saves him from making the biggest mistake of his life, the pupil says in defense of the character in his paper, which he thinks deserves better than the B Ezra gave him. But a hardened Ezra replies: "Life isn't always romantic; sometimes it's realistic. Sometimes things don't work out the way you want it to." The student heads for the door, but before he leaves, he has an unattributed quote for Ezra: "Be bold. The mighty forces will come to your aide." The Secret Fairy Godstudent and his eyelashes flutter away and seemingly, Ezra finally listens to Aria's voicemail and knows what he has to do.
Hanna sits in her favorite spot at the island in her kitchen and her mom sees the appliance sitting in the trash. "Did you and the blender have a fight today?" she asks. Mrs. Marin got funny since last episode. Hanna says no, but admits that she and Caleb did. She asks her mom if she ever lied to her dad. And then, her mom tells two stories, one about a puke green wall and another about his best friend hitting on her. I take back my favorable Mrs. Marin comment. As my mom says, "oy gevault. this convo is ridic."
Back in the hospital, Ren asks Toby if he can get him anything and Toby takes the opportunity to accuse Ren of being the other man in Spencer's life. Ren admits he kissed her and says that Spencer told him that she and Toby were over. Toby then suggests Ren leave. "I'm just saying, I may have broken my left arm, but my right arm's fine." Damn.
As Mona and Hanna make their way to their date at Rosewood's newest hot spot (we're talkin' fake I.D.'s), the pair sees Jenna dining with Noel. He rebounds quickly and both Mona and Hanna look disturbed for presumably very different reasons. "there has been an economic boom in Rosewood," my mom explains due to the crop of new eateries and going-outeries.
Over in the more precipitous portions of Pennsylvania (previously, my mom asked: "is it raining where lucy* is or just in front of Spencer's window?"), Toby checks himself out of the hospital and Ezra predictably shows up for Aria. He stops his car in the middle of traffic, gets out, calls her name and gives her a perfectly cinematic 180-degree, slow-motion pouring rain kiss. My mom's response: "YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYYAYAYAYAYAAYYAYAYAYAYAYYAYAYAYAYAYAY. IM HAPPY. take that Ella and Byron :)" Three cheers for student-teacher romance?
But soon enough, the magic moment is (thankfully) over. Yes, I am continuing to rain on this inappropriate parade and I'm sorry for the pun. During the commercial break, a reunited Ezria apparently headed to his car and sort of came to their senses. They know it's dangerous and crazy to be together and they realize that they "can't spend the rest of [their] lives on sidewalks in the rain." But they still make out and therefore, I still roll my eyes.
Caleb tells Emily and Spencer that Hanna destroyed the flash drive, but that he has a copy. He wants to keep working on this project (without telling Hanna), but he also wants to know: What is Hanna so afraid of him finding out?
The next morning, Spemily (it'll catch on, don't worry) fill Aria in -- they told Caleb that Jenna's trying to frame them for Alison's murder, that Garrett's helping her and that Ian's confession doesn't tell the whole story.
Spencer says Caleb knows what he has to know as they load Flash Drive 2.0 on her computer. What they find is Ian revealing to Jenna and Garrett that he was taping them. "Once you're a member of the club, your'e always a member of the club," Ian tells a furious Garrett. "Just making sure you're in this as deep as I am." ("so mickey mouse club," my mom notes.) They assume what follows is the last few seconds of Ali's life, but then, of course, the tape cuts out.
Emily doesn't know if Caleb should keep digging through the flash drive, but Spencer says maybe it could help this all be "over." As Emily asks if she means "over over" or just the regular type of "over," they hear a door slam.
Toby's back from the hospital already? This is where my mom asks, "he drove himself home from the hospital???? And you have probs with Ezra and Aria???" (Yes, I still do.)
The trio heads downstairs to his car, which has the keys inside and a note to Spencer on the dashboard. "What's it say?" Aria asks. "He's gone," Spencer replies.
Cut to A, who is taking a photo of Aria and Ezra off his wall, then cuts it in half, and burns the Ezra half. Then A does the same with Spencer and Toby's photo.
"soooooo this was quite the relationship episode.....toby and spencer broke up, hanna and caleb are fighting, lucy* and ezra are back, holden is with ??? mona and noel are ovahhhhh and jenna and noel are on. emily stands alone," my mom says summing it up. "So sad," I reply. "The cheese stands alone. And in this case, why does the cheese have to be the lesbian?"
She continues to wonder who A could be: Byron and the "British doc" (i.e. Ren) are her guesses, while I'm going with Spencer's dad and Melissa (the latter of which I'm not letting go of anytime soon).
As you read on to place your vote on the worst looks and best quotes, who do you think is A (or part of A) at this point?
Worst Looks Of The Episode:
- Hanna's oddly low pussybow shirt. "oh it must been Hanna who pissed off the stylist this week," my mom observes. But she spoke too soon.
- Aria's pocket-showing skirt, a la Britney Spears circa Cheeto-Frappacino-no-shoes-in-gas-station-bathrooms era.
- Mona's glittery pink top that shines, perfectly reflecting her bathroom tears. "Her shirt is awful," my mom says in agreement. "she'd be better off in her cashmere blend sweater sets."
- Aria's bumble bee pin (though she gets points for the adorable striped dress it adorned)
- Aria's sparkly chocker, apparently perfect for a rainy night out in the city of Brotherly Love
Best Quotes Of The Episode:
- "My money's on Officer Garrett in the greenhouse with the cellphone." -Aria on who A could be now that Lucas is out
- "People in China have heard about me and Noel" -Mona to Hanna, who finally decides to be friend to the heartbroken Glamping Queen
- "Jenna would kill and eat her own mother to get back to us." -Hanna on whether or not Jenna would hurt Toby
- "Come on, dance, you little bastards!" -Spencer's effort to get the video on Flash Drive 2.0 to play
*Note/Bonus: You'll notice that my mom refers to Aria as Lucy, which is the name of the actress who plays Aria. This is because we watched Lucy Hale as a competitor and (spoiler alert) one of the winners of Fox's one-and-done season of "American Juniors." On the 2003 children's take on "Idol," little Lucy Hale -- and her even littler eyebrows -- showed off her big voice with Oleta Adams' "Get Here."
"Pretty Little Liars" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. EST on ABC Family.